The Special Olympics has support and volunteers from many fields, including chiropractic and massage.
What are the Special Olympics?
The Special Olympics World Games are for athletes with “intellectual disabilities”. They are an international competition comprised of many sporting events. There are also local Special Olympics held at various other times throughout the world. In over a week of competitions, every two years, similar to the Paralympics and Olympics schedules, children and adults with intellectual disabilities compete in Summer Games and Winter Games. The World Games attract “as many as 25,000 volunteers and coaches”. The events demonstrated at the games include swimming, basketball, cycling, golf, roller skating, gymnastics, softball, volleyball, skiing, figure skating, snowboarding, hockey, and many more. Athletes compete with each other in match-ups that are divided by age and ability, in order to make the competition “exciting” and “fair”. The 2015 World Summer games are scheduled for Los Angeles, CA, and the 2017 Winter Games are set for Austria. In fact, “the first International Special Olympics Summer Games were held in Chicago” in 1968.1 The first Winter Games were held in Steamboat Springs, CO, in 1977. The Special Olympics has its roots with Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who saw how people with intellectual disabilities had been treated unfairly and unjustly. She felt that these young people needed a place to play, so she began Camp Shriver, a summer day camp “in her own backyard”. Her 1960’s work ended up pioneering the “Special Olympics movement”. The games have expanded over the years, and they now offer health-care services for the athletes. These services, from Healthy Athletes, include hearing, dental and vision screening, and nutrition education and clinics for injury prevention. The most recent census of the Special Olympics has counted over “4.2 million athletes and 70,000 competitions around the world”.2 The mission statement of the Special Olympics promises sports training and competitions, year round, in Olympic-type sports so that people with intellectual disabilities can have opportunities to experiences courage, physical fitness, joy, and friendship for themselves, their family, and other athletes.3
Chiropractic and Massage
Like any other athletes and Olympians, participants in the Special Olympics need to perform at their peak and recover from injuries. Chiropractors and massage therapists can play a role in this. Chiropractors have signed up to provide chiropractic care, including examinations and adjustments, to volunteers, athletes, and coaches.4 Some chiropractic offices participate in fundraisers for the Special Olympics.5 Massage therapists have also volunteered time for these athletic games.6 They have provided services and clinics for the athletes.7 In addition, massage therapists have also participated in fundraisers for the Special Olympics.8 Massage therapists “promote physical and mental relaxation”.9
Find out more about chiropractic and the Olympics.